Picture of instructor Mr Alan Watkins

Mr. Alan Watkins

Computer Science


CSC 246 Concepts and Facilities of Operating Systems for Computer Scientists

3 Credit Hours

The history and evolution of operating systems, concepts of process management, memory addressing and allocation, files and protection, deadlocks and distributed systems.


C and Software Tools (NC State CSC 230)

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, a student will be able to:

  • Processes and Threads. describe states and transitions of processes/threads; explain non-local transfers of control; determine context switching details.
  • Synchronization. list different synchronization models; explain the operational characteristics of these models; use these facilities in concurrent programming models; contrast these models; utilize synchronization for contemporary architectures; select a suitable synchronization paradigm for a given problem.
  • Virtual Memory. reiterate the principles of hardware and software support for virtual memory; express operational properties of address translation; perform the calculations of address translation; predict the impact on TLB misses; judge the merits and shortcomings of virtual memory usage.
  • Scheduling. recite different scheduling paradigms; paraphrase qualitative and quantitative properties of these paradigms; derive a schedule for given parameters; model quantitative properties of scheduling paradigms; exploit existing scheduling models support by systems; contrast different scheduling approaches.
  • I/O and File Management. reiterate the principles of file systems in terms of data structures; understand access control; interface with directory services on the system API level; judge the merits and shortcomings of contemporary file systems.
  • Protection and Security. list different protection mechanisms; explain security measures in operating systems such as access control.
  • Communication and Networking. reiterate basic communication paradigms and networking protocols in terms of their functionality; explain differences and functionalities of communication modes and layers; design and implement communicating client-server applications.
  • Computer organization. Enumerate and explain the operation of the functional components of a computer, including CPU (cores, registers & ALU), cache, buses, memory, devices and interrupt processing. Describe and compare non-traditional models of parallel computation, including GPU, TPU, FPGA and ASIC.

Course Topics

  • History and Vocabulary of Operating Systems
  • Overview of Computer Architecture and Operating System Architecture
  • Processes and Process Management
  • The Unix Process Model
  • Threads
  • POSIX Thread (pthreads) and Java Thread Creation
  • Process/Thread Scheduling
  • Real-time Scheduling
  • Process/Thread Synchronization and Communication
  • POSIX Threads (pthreads) and Java Thread Synchronization
  • Deadlocks
  • Memory Management
  • Virtual Memory
  • A Survey of Virtualization and its Uses/Benefits in Today’s Market

Course Requirements

Tests:Test 115%
Test 215%
Final Exam20%


Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne Operating System Concepts 10th Edition, © 2018 ISBN: 978-1-119-32091-3
Errata for version 10 of the textbook:


Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne, Operating System Concepts 9th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ISBN 978-1118063330

Computer and Software Requirements

Access to a Unix/Linux platform (NCSU provides remote access ) or use the NCSU Virtual Computing Lab:

Updated 10/27/2022